The Justice Department today announced a settlement under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with Blair County, Pa., to greatly improve physical accessibility at the county’s polling places for individuals who use wheelchairs and other mobility aids and for individuals who are blind or have vision impairments. Title II prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by a state or local government in any of its programs or services, including its voting program.
Under the terms of the settlement, accessibility will be a major criterion in the county’s selection of polling places. To make that assessment, the county will use an evaluation form for each prospective polling place based on ADA architectural standards. The settlement requires the county to either relocate inaccessible polling places to accessible facilities or to use temporary measures such as portable ramps, signs, traffic cones and doorbells where appropriate to ensure accessibility on Election Day. The settlement will provide individuals with disabilities the opportunity to vote at the polls throughout Blair County, rather than solely through the use of an absentee ballot.
“The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Jocelyn Samuels. “This agreement will ensure that persons with mobility disabilities and vision impairments have equal opportunities to exercise their right to vote in person at their assigned polling place, just like their neighbors. The Justice Department is committed to continued, vigorous enforcement of the panoply of federal civil rights laws aimed at securing the right to vote for all Americans, including the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
More information about this settlement and the ADA is available at the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY), and via its ADA website.